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Using Handheld PC Explorer and ActiveSync 3.8 together under Windows 2000, XP or 2003


Applies To

  • Windows CE 1.0, 1.01
  • Windows CE 2.0
  • Handheld PC Professional
  • HPC2000
  • Windows CE .net 4.0, 4.1, 4.2


Windows CE 1.0x devices require the proprietary sync client Handheld PC Explorer in order to install software and synchronise PIM information with the host PC. With the release of Windows CE 2.0 and through subsequent releases, synchronisation was consolidated into the Microsoft ActiveSync client.

As ActiveSync is several generations of evolutionary steps up from Handheld PC Explorer, and is fundamentally based around the same base API, it is not ordinarily possible to run both sync clients together under Microsoft Windows. This article overviews supported as well as experimental methods developed by HPC:Factor to enable users to run both clients on the same computer with a minimum amount of transition time between sessions.


More Info

The traditional, and controversial method of using both sync clients under a Windows environment has been to systematically install and uninstall each client as required, rotating between either one depending on the device connection required. This is impractical as it is a slow, time consuming process often requiring reboots.

Virtualisation / Emulation

The recommended solution for maintaining stability and synchronising multiple clients is to make use of the increasingly common Virtualisation and Emulation technologies to create a second operating system session within your computer environment. In order to facilitate the use of both clients an second Windows installation is required within the virtualised or emulated environment, onto which you install Handheld PC Explorer.

Popular Virtualisation and emulation platforms with which you can configure and use H/PC Explorer are:

  • Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 (formerly Connetix Virtual PC)
  • Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 / Virtual Server 2005 R2
  • EMC VMWare Player, Workstation or higher
  • BOSCH for Win32

Using the dual operating system approach you can install both clients without either being aware of the other. Depending upon the capabilities of the virtualisation software, you may not have access to USB hardware, so it is recommended that H/PC Explorer activity be initiated within the Virtual Machine (VM).
the VM should be given pass through to your PC's physical COM port, allowing communication with the Handheld PC.

VM solutions may incur a licensing fee for both the Virtualisation / Emulation program and for subsequent Windows installation licenses needed to install Handheld PC Explorer.

Under Virtualised / Emulated platforms all installation rules for Handheld PC Explorer still apply. For details of installing H/PC Explorer 1.1 under Windows 2000 see CESDC0001 and for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 see CESDC0002.

HPC:Factor Handheld PC Explorer 1.1 for Windows NT 5.0

HPC:Factor has created a redistributable of H/PC Explorer specifically designed to combat the problem of running both H/PC Explorer and ActiveSync 3.x under Windows NT 5.0 systems. The redistributable allow both the installation of software onto the Handheld PC using Host Installers and synchronisation with compatible PIM clients.

Operating Systems which constitute the Windows NT 5.0 family are

  • Windows 2000 Professional, Server, Advanced Server and Data Centre
  • Windows XP Home, Professional, Table PC, Media Centre (32-bit)
  • Windows Server 2003 Web, Standard, Enterprise, Data Centre

The HPC:Factor Handheld PC Explorer 1.1 redistributable is not supported or endorsed by the Microsoft Corporation. Modifications to H/PC Explorer 1.1 for the purpose of the redistributable have been made openly by HPC:Factor for the benefit of Handheld PC users. Exclusive ownership of H/PC Explorer remains with the Microsoft Corporation © 1996.
Use of the information in this article is unsupported and is unwarranted by HPC:Factor. Use of the redistributable is at the sole risk of you the user.

System Requirements

  • A Windows NT 5.0 based operating system
  • Windows CE 1.0 or 1.01 Handheld PC
  • 1 Free Serial Port
  • 8MB available hard disk space (18MB for installation)
  • Administrative Privileges

Optionally Schedule Plus 7.0, 7.0a or 7.5 or Microsoft Outlook 97 or higher for PIM synchronisation.

Installation Prerequisites

  1. HPCEx:Factor is for Windows NT 5.x only
  2. Uninstall any version of H/PC Explorer that you have on the system before proceeding with the installation
  3. Install ActiveSync 3.x on your system (3.8 recommended) before proceeding with the installation
  4. You must follow CESDC0001 for Windows 2000 or CESDC0002 for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 after installation


Version 0.0.6
  • Initial Public Release
  • Host Installer
  • Host Uninstaller
  • Outlook Synchronisation Support bundled into main installer
Version 0.0.5 beta 2
  • Experimental Host Installer
  • Fixed situation where H/PC Explorer would crash when ActiveSync requirement wasn't met
Version 0.0.4 beta 1
  • Batch Installer
  • Fixes reinstallation error of either ActiveSync or H/PC Explorer where by both applications break due to conflicting dll calls
Version 0.0.3 alpha
  • Initial working build
  • Added Microsoft Outlook Sync capabilities
  • Added Microsoft Schedule+ Sync capabilities

Synchronisation Support

By default, HPCEx:Factor ships with support for Microsoft Outlook Synchronisation enabled. If you require synchronisation support for Microsoft Schedule+, download and run the contents of the SchedulePlus zip file available for download in the CESD download centre.

Known Problems

  1. If you reboot your computer or log-off and back on while H/PC Explorer is running you will receive an error message the next time you log-in to your computer. The error message is caused by ActiveSync attempting to automatically execute on start-up when the system is configured to expect an H/PC Explorer Session. This is a know problem in HPCEx:Factor.

    To resolve the problem, run Start ActiveSync or Start Handheld PC Explorer from the Start Menu to reset the system to the correct sync client session.